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NARRATIVE BY ACTIVITY

with established or potential asbestos exposures to reduce behaviors (e.g., cigarette smoking) known to increase the risk of developing asbestos-related disease.

  • Responding to Hurricane Katrina — Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, ATSDR staff deployed to the area to work with EPA in resolving public health issues. Specifically, ATSDR personnel:

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      Helped assess and reopen approximately 200 schools in Jefferson Parish;

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      Delivered technical support to local and state officials on environmental health issues (e.g., infection control, potable water, waste water, food services, sleeping areas) to protect the health of survivors, evacuees, and response personnel.

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      Helped assess safety of environmental chemical exposures;

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      Helped rebuild the New Orleans Environmental Health Department’s functionality;

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      Aided EPA during abatement of chemical spills in Mississippi; and

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      Worked with EPA, the Coast Guard, and other responders to avert widespread hazardous exposures for thousands of people. For example, ATSDR staff helped:

      • o

        Search for, collect, or remediate potential industrial and residential hazards, such as dislodged or leaking fuel tanks, chlorine and propane cylinders, hospital biohazards, and 55-gallon chemical drums the storms floated from barges to front lawns;

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          Survey rail lines for damaged or leaking chemical and freight cars;

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          Investigate industrial facilities, including a chemical plant, to determine whether these facilities posed hazards as a result of hurricane damage;

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          Deliver critical health guidance to returning residents on carbon monoxide, water sanitation, electrical hazards, and other topics; and

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          Evaluate NPL sites in the area for hazards following the storms.

  • Protecting Children from Asthma –- Findings from a study of two New York City boroughs, Bronx and Manhattan, may help people reduce exposure to ambient air pollutants and emergency department visits due to acute asthma. The study conducted by the New York State Department of Health in cooperation with ATSDR, suggests that the criteria pollutants such as particulate matter, sulpher dioxide, ozone, and nitrous oxide had statistically detectable impact on acute asthma emergency department visits in a community with a relatively high baseline rate of acute asthma exacerbations.

  • What You Don’t Know — ATSDR helped uncover critical new health information for some former workers at the Stauffer Chemical Company plant in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The plant produced elemental phosphorous and had approximately 2,500 employees from 1941 to 1981. Workers were exposed to mixture of respiratory irritants including toxic chemicals, gases, and other substances, including asbestos. ATSDR evaluated the health of 36 former workers who volunteered for testing. The evaluation revealed that a number of the workers had medically significant conditions, some of which were undetected previously. In identifying this information, ATSDR helped the workers protect their own health and advanced environmental medicine in the community.

  • Protecting Thousands of Residents from Asbestos Debris — ATSDR worked with EPA to protect the health of some 5,000 – 8,000 residents evacuated during a fire at the AMACOR magnesium recycling facility in Anderson, Indiana. ATSDR helped determine where air-monitoring equipment needed to be located to be effective. The fire burned for about 48 hours, and roofing material was blown from the buildings and scattered around the surrounding residential community. The impacted area covered a two-mile radius and affected approximately 1,300 residences. ATSDR and others developed a neighborhood clean-up clearance sampling protocol to help protect against residential exposures to asbestos-containing debris potentially left behind after the clean up.

FY 2008 ATSDR CONGRESSIONAL JUSTIFICATION SAFER·HEALTHIER·PEOPLE

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